Tattoo Ink Colors for Different Skin Tones | How to Choose best Ink Color

When people decide to get inked, they just want one thing: their tattoo should be the greatest out of everyone’s. The meaning of great is different for different people.

Some people like big dramatic tattoos, while some people like tiny finger tattoos. But one thing that no one likes is a tattoo that starts fading away very quickly.

What can we do to get a tattoo that looks great and stays great too? Apart from choosing the design and the size of the design, what a lot of people do is avoid deciding the tattoo color based on their skin color.

You must always choose your tattoo color according to the skin color because if you pick the wrong color combination, then your tattoo can look very faded and ugly.

For all your questions and doubts, here we have prepared a comprehensible guide for anyone interested in knowing which tattoo color is suitable for which skin color.

How to choose the perfect Ink Color for your Skin tone?

People get tattoos to express themselves to the world, but what’s the use of that tattoo if it starts fading away really fast.

The most important thing to do is to choose the right ink color for your skin. While picking the ink color, you should know the two tones of your skin: the undertone and the overtone. 


We get our skin color through the amount of melanin, hemoglobin, and carotene present in our skin. Your skin’s undertone is the quantity of melanin present in your skin, while carotene and hemoglobin determine any variations in the undertones that we have.

Undertones can be of two types: cool and warm. People who have darker or fairer skin have either of two undertones.

It is essential to know your undertone as it completely changes the color shades you choose for yourself, not just for tattoo ink but also for the shade of makeup that you wear.

As you might have seen, the same color of lipstick looks different for different people of color. It can look stunning on some people whereas, on some people, it might look very out of place.

This is the reason we should always try to compare our tattoo ink color with our skin tone. After choosing the right color, when the needles deposit the ink in the skin, the melanin that covers the ink changes the ink color slightly to match the skin color. 

For example, when you see the blue tattoo ink color, it might look vibrant and bright, but once you inject it into the skin, it might start to appear green. This change of color is because of the presence of melanin in the skin.

Hence we must make sure that we choose the tones that match our undertones.


The overtone is your skin color or the pigment of your skin. Choosing a color that goes with your overtone is very important because not every ink color shows up on every overtone. When the needle penetrates the ink inside your skin, it deposits the ink in the dermis layer.

The dermis is a layer situated under the skin. Hence this means that the pigments and skin tone will be above the ink of the tattoo. The ink goes inside the body and creates an impression on the layer outside.

An easy way to see which ink color goes on your skin type, you should choose the shade, which is either a bit darker or a bit lighter than your skin color. And it would help if you also remembered that some colors come out better on some pigments than the others.

Fair skin

The white color or light colors like light blue looks good on fair-skinned people.

Medium skin

Orange, green, red, and blues are suitable for olive-toned or tanned skin tones.

Dark skin

Colors that are the darkest on the color wheel work best. Dark blue, black, crimson looks very lovely on people with deeper skin tones.

What tattoo colors look best on pale skin?

White tattoos look great on people with pale skin. The more pale the skin is, the more it stands out. And recently, white tattoos have been prevalent among younger people. They look stunning and different.

They are delicate and subtle, and they are generally opted for by people who don’t want to showcase their feelings to everyone but only to those who are close to them. But white tattoos have some drawbacks too as it fades away really fast.

When the tattoo is exposed to ultraviolet rays, the tattoo fades away faster, so people should take precautions when they are outside in the sun. 

Other than the color white, fair or pale skin is suitable for almost all colors like black, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, etc., except orange and yellow.

Yellow is not the right tattoo color because it is not visible on the body and will probably look like a scar on your body. And the orange color is tough to remove. It might not come out quickly. So you should choose the color wisely.

What tattoo colors are best for light skin?

For light skin, there are several choices. You can opt for even the boldest of colors like black.

Blue, purple, green, orange, bright red colors will pop up on your skin with a definition and radiance. And You can go for subtle colors like white, pink or violet also. 

What tattoo colors are best for brown skinned people?

Brown colored people have a medium amount of melanin, and melanin stays with the tattoo ink, which is injected in your body. So it is best if you go for dark colors like black, purple, red, and blue.

Yellow and orange are brighter colors that will be hardly visible. But you can choose yellow and orange for highlighting your tattoos or for smaller details.

You can also go for greens or whites to make your tattoo look visible and beautiful on the layer of the skin.

What tattoo colors are best for dark skin?

You might think that you should go for lighter colors since you have dark skin, but people who have deeper skin tones should go for colors like red and black because lighter colors won’t be visible on the skin.

Colors like orange, yellow, and white don’t look radiant and lose the impact and come out looking very dull.

Also, whenever you are doubtful of what color to get, you should always go for black because black tattoos are the safest and best-looking option. Other colors you can go for are royal blue or crimson red.

Colorful tattoos are fun and relaxed, but it costs a lot to maintain them because you need to keep visiting the tattoo artist to get the colors filled in and get a touch-up.

You should also not go for glittery or bright colors. People with darker colors should always get a tattoo with a bold outline to make the tattoo look more prominent. 

Things to keep in mind before deciding on tattoo color:

1. How versatile a pigment is

It means how the color will look overall on the skin. Some very versatile colors are dark blues, grey and black.

2. A long-lasting pigment

It is essential to know how long your pigment will last because in the future if you decide to get your tattoo removed through laser treatment you should know how long your tattoo colors will be able to bear the brunt of time.

Usually, colors like orange, green, and yellow pigments are very immune to laser removal treatment, so if you feel like you will want to change your tattoo in the future, it’s best to go for some other color. At the same time, the color white fades quickly, so it requires a lot of touch-ups.

3. Exposure to sun

Tattoo ink is injected in the same place in the body as the place where light receptive cells are. Melanocytes or light receptive skin cells release melanin when the sun’s harmful rays endanger the skin.

After spending some time in the sun, the tan color that appears on the skin is created by melanin itself. So when the melanin is mixed with the tattoo ink, it dulls the color.

So it is essential to notice that you must consider spending less time in the sun so as not to change the color of the tattoo after getting inked.

4. The ink looks on the skin

Blue and black are pigments that the skin tolerates the best. Skin can easily take them, and laser treatment can remove them with minimal effort.

For people who have lighter skin, more tattoo ink pigment can be seen, whereas people who have dark skin need a high pigment dose to visible pigment on the skin. 

Always talk to the tattoo artist about the colors and shades that will match your skin, as no one can tell you better than them.

Get a temporary tattoo first to have an idea about how the tattoo will look once it is made permanent, and you can make some changes if you feel. 

Tattoo designs and colors look good only when both match each other.

Some colors do not go with specific designs, and certain designs don’t go with specific colors.

When deciding on a color, search for its ingredients because many colors contain chemicals that might not be fine for the skin, or you might be allergic to those chemicals. 

Final Words:

After reading the whole article, you must have understood how important it is to choose an appropriate color for your skin tone. It is not an easy decision, but after understanding all the points mentioned above and talking to the tattoo artist about everything, you can make an informed decision.

Make sure to talk about the design, size, color, time that the color will take to fade, ingredients of the color, and everything else. Believe it or not, the tattoo artists know best. And even if you don’t finish up with a color palette that you desired, you’d still be highly impressed with the result.